Andhra Pradesh

Ruia tragedy attributed to stress on medical infrastructure

Newly elected MP M. Gurumoorthy, MLA Bhumana Karunakar Reddy and Mayor R. Sireesha inspecting the restoration of oxygen supply at Ruia hospital in Tirupati on Tuesday.  

The death of 11 patients due to disruption in oxygen supply at Sri Venkateswara Ramnarain Ruia hospital on Monday night is primarily attributed to the heavy stress on medical infrastructure. The sudden rush of patients requiring oxygen, especially over the last four days, had a cumulative effect.

The brief disruption in the flow of oxygen from the tank was said to have caused the incident. Though a tanker from a plant in Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu) was scheduled to arrive at 5 p.m., it reached by 8.30 p.m. As the pressure from the ‘near empty’ tank had come down by then, the authorities rushed in to provide oxygen from bulk cylinders. The delay of five minutes involved for the replacement, though unofficially pegged at 25 minutes by the relatives of the victims, caused the disaster.

Ruia hospital has 1,028 beds, of which 876 are marked for COVID-19 patients and the remaining for non-COVID cases. However, as the inflow remained unabated in the last four days, the authorities tried to accommodate as many COVID cases as possible even on the non-COVID beds. According to superintendent K. Bharathi, 962 patients were undergoing treatment as on Tuesday morning, with 250 of them tagged as ‘serious cases’. There are many more in the triaging and testing areas.

The deceased were among the 135 being treated with ventilator support at the ICU. “Around 40 suffered brief breathlessness due to low pressure from the bulk cylinder when it was being replaced, out of which 11 died,” explained the hospital’s nodal officer Hari Krishna. He said one more tank would be installed in a week’s time.

Lack of manpower

Though the government has ensured additional supply of oxygen in tune with the rising demand and donors also chipped in with munificent supply of tankers, lack of trained manpower to operate them remains a grey area. Sources in the know of things revealed to The Hindu that only one unskilled, lowly-paid person had been engaged to operate the five to six oxygen tanks installed at Ruia as well as the contiguous Government Maternity Hospital compounds.

Meanwhile, newly elected MP M. Gurumoorthy, MLA Bhumana Karunakar Reddy and Mayor R. Sireesha visited the hospital on Tuesday and inspected the measures taken to restore normalcy.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 7:02:32 PM |

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